R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe was disappointed to learn last week that gas-filled rotting pumpkin Donald Trump has been playing the band’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” at his campaign events. Stipe quickly requested that Trump cease using R.E.M.’s music and also go fuck himself, and several news outlets reported that the band was suing The Donald and Ted “Cohiba” Cruz for $2.5 million for unauthorized use of the song. In reality, there is no such lawsuit.
The fake NBC site doesn’t look much like the real one, which should have been a red flag, but if reporters weren’t as skeptical as they should be, it’s because the story sounds so plausible.
Although R.E.M. isn’t suing the GOP candidates, Stipe flatly condemned them in a statement through bandmate Mike Mills’ Twitter account:
“Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you—you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign. —Michael Stipe”
If R.E.M. did sue, they’d have a decent chance of winning. That’s according to intellectual property lawyer Joel Schoenfeld, formerly of the RIAA, who told Salon that if the campaign or the venue hadn’t licensed the song for public performance, R.E.M. would have strong grounds to enforce the copyright.
“I’m not aware of any case that’s come to a judgment, but they’re usually settled and the politician is usually the one that apologizes,” Schoenfeld said, citing the time former Florida governor Charlie Crist got owned by the Talking Heads.